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FARMER OF THE EASTERN SLOPE              191

chow, and in the following years Tseyu's sons-in-law came by turns,
from time to time, to visit them. Su Tungpo had secured another
son-in-law for his brother, whom, according to Tseyu's poem, the latter
accepted without ever seeing him. The poet also began to attract a
collection of rather queer ^ individuals, two of them Taoists, who
believed in and practised the life of carefree vagabondage as preached
fey Taoism. One of these was supposed to be one hundred and twenty-
seven years old when Tseyu sent him to see Su Tungpo, and as the
poet was interested in the secret of prolonging life, this old Taoist
practically became an established member of the family. In the third
year the poet monk Tsanliao came to stay with him for about a year.
But his best friend was Chen Tsao, with whose father Su had quar-
relled in his young days. Chen was living some distance away at
Chiting; but Su went to visit him several times, and Chen came to
vvisit Su seven times in four years. By a literary accident Chen became
immortalised as a henpecked husband. Today in the Chinese language,
"Chichang's weakness" is synonymous with "being henpecked'*,
Chichang being Chen's courtesy name. Chen was the kind of friend
with whom Su could joke freely all the time. In a iesting verse, Su
Tungo wrote: "Pity the poor Taoist of Lungchiu. He sits up chatting
about ghosts and devils all night. Suddenly he hears a lion's roar, and
in his dismay the cane drops from his hand." Henceforth his reputa-
tion as the classic henpecked husband was established. The interpre-
;jation of this verse is open to question. From all we know, Chen lived
a very carefree, romantic, and happy life at home. The phrase "lion's
roar" was also a Buddhist phrase signifying "the voice of Buddha".
What seems to me probable is that his wife had a loud voice, and Su
Tungpo was simply making fun of his friend as friends often do.
But to this day, the phrase "the lion's roar" has become the standard
reference to a nagging wife. If Su Tungpo had clearly referred to "a
lioness's roar", the case could be better established.

Su Tungpo had a good home, and he said in one of his poems that
he had a good wife. By that he meant that his wife did not boss him
as many of his friends and noted scholars in past history had been
bossed by their wives. His sons were got brilliant, although Mai could
-swrite verse by this time. A great poet, Tao Chien, had written a poem
in a mood of sad resignation about his sons, saying that what they
were was God's will, and he asked only for a cup of wine. Su Tungpo
said: "My sons are like those of Yuanliang ("Tao Chien], but my wife
is better than the wife of Chingtung." This Chingtung was a scholar
of the eastern Han dynasty. In his own footnote to this line, Su said:
"My writing cannot compare with his, but my temperament and my
life bear great resemblances to his. Under a good emperor, he was dis-
missed from the court and like me led a wandering life. But he had